Ask the Advocates: Support Groups
We asked our advocate team their opinions on support groups and how to find them! Check out their answers below, and comment with your own answers!
Information around support groups with COPD
I honestly believe an active support group can do as much “good” for you in helping you live with COPD as some of the prescribed medicine we need to take. Truly.
As hard as they might try, and as much as they may love us, families don’t always “get it.”
If you’ve not attended a support group meeting, what they usually consist of is any number of COPD participants (I don’t like the word “patients” - lol) joined together in a casual setting.
Oftentimes, support groups meet in medical facilities or rehab centers that are convenient to those who are able to travel.
There is ordinarily a moderator who chairs or suns the meeting in the sense that he/she facilitates the active flow of discussion among participants - in other words, someone who helps to make sure we’re not all shouting at once!
In all seriousness, the moderator/facilitator is oftentimes an individual with a degree in social work or a similar discipline.
Support group meeting can get pretty emotional at times and it’s good to have someone with that kind of background who is familiar with dealing with those kinds of situations.
As wonderful as these meeting can be, they are, unfortunately few and far between.
The American Lung Association runs support group meetings under the heading of the “Better Breathers Club”:
By clicking the link you’ll be able to search to see if there are meetings happening near you.
There are various websites and Facebook pages that host Support Groups and at least one organization is exploring “virtual” Support Groups, online, conducted with the help of SKYPE.
Read Kevin's bio here!
Having a strong support system within the COPD community is so important. Interacting with other people who share the same diagnosis and truly understand what you are going through is valuable. The internet is a fantastic place to find such support groups. There are many on numerous platforms such as this one (COPD.net), facebook and other websites as well. A simple “COPD support groups near me” search will bring up a list of websites to find a group that is local to you to also get face to face interaction with fellow people who have COPD. While online interaction is great, there is also a lot of value in meeting in person with people too! I have a friend who shares the same diagnosis as me and although we live on opposite sides of the country we are always checking up on each other and are also each others best cheerleaders.
Read Theresa's bio here!
We all have those moments we want/need to talk to someone. This is especially true when you have a chronic disease like COPD. It’s so neat when you have those “Really! You mean I’m not the only one who experiences that” moments. It’s also neat to get moral support, and to give it as well. Our own Kevin Davitt describes the value of such groups in his post “Better Breathers Club.” There may be a COPD support group near you. If one exists, you can probably find it by talking to your doctor or contacting your regional hospital. You may also find various COPD support groups online. These are neat because you don’t even need to leave your home. For more tips on how to find a COPD support group you can check out Kevin’s article linked to above. Or, you can check out Barbara Moore’s article, “Tips For Finding A Support Group.”
Read John's bio here!
How has your experience been navigating the healthcare system as someone with COPD?